Creating a new wetland: Coldstream Canyon Pond |

Creating a new wetland: Coldstream Canyon Pond

Greyson Howard/Sierra SunThousands of frogs came out of the mud and worked their way to the Coldstream pond Tuesday afternoon. The Truckee River Watershed Council and California State Parks are working to improve wetland habitat at the pond.

TRUCKEE, Calif. and#8212; Beth Christman and Cyndie Walck stepped out of Walckand#8217;s state parksand#8217; Jeep Tuesday afternoon, checking out their latest restoration project.

The site is a small pond in Coldstream Canyon, created in the gravel mining days and habitually thrashed by four-wheelers since.

For Christman, of the Truckee River Watershed Council, and Walck, of California State Parks, the goal was to create rare wetland habitat around the pond, known for being productive and biologically diverse.

And as if to illustrate the point, thousands of tiny frogs erupted from the cracked mud bank and swarming down to the waterand#8217;s edge, where a garter snake waited for an easy meal.

and#8220;Itand#8217;s a lot more biologically productive and great for water quality and#8212; filtering sediment and pollutants,and#8221; said Christman, program manager for the watershed council.

Walck, a fluvial geomorphologist for California State Parks, said the ponds were first created for gravel mining, taking advantage of all the sediment washed down the canyon by Cold Creek.

and#8220;It was probably forest before the mining, but now itand#8217;s wetland, so weand#8217;re trying to take advantage of that,and#8221; Walck said. and#8220;We already have a lot of forest but not much wetland, so this is more valuable.and#8221;

But it isnand#8217;t just barring off-roaders from the pond and throwing down some seeds and#8212; the collaborative effort is actually a study to see what conditions are best to bring back the sensitive habitat, started with the help of 40 to 50 volunteers at the last Truckee River Day, Christman said.

and#8220;Weand#8217;ll probably monitor these plots for three or four years to see what the trends are,and#8221; Walck said. and#8220;But hopefully we can create more shoreline habitat.and#8221;

The pond project, along with others planned down the line in Coldstream Canyon, could go a long way to repairing the watershed, reducing the sediment that flows down Cold Creek, into Donner Creek, and ultimately the Truckee River.

With the threat of the state legislature shutting down most state parks, including Donner Memorial State Park that owns the Coldstream property, Walck said the pond is in a position to do well enough on its own should funding dry up.

and#8220;If Donner State Park closes, the Truckee River Watershed Council has an obligation to continue monitoring for three years and#8212; we have a little funding from the Town of Truckeeand#8217;s Donner Lake bike lane mitigation funds,and#8221; Christman said.

Other watershed council projects have been frozen, along with state grant funding, but some, like the work in Perazzo Meadows on the Little Truckee River, seems secure, Christman said.

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